• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. [Mat 11:29 NASB].

John 8:37-47 – Standing Firm In The Faith Of Lies

I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill Me because My word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” They answered Him, “Abraham is our father.” [v37-39a].

Even though these professing believers were arguing with Jesus, He acknowledged they were the physical offspring of Abraham. But they were not acting according to their lineage. Abraham looked for God’s promise but these people wanted to kill the fulfillment of the promise. In the last chapter, Christ spoke of Moses and asked if they obeyed Moses, why did they seek to kill Him. (7:19). Jesus’ point was these people claimed to follow Abraham and Moses, yet they betrayed their claim because they were not seeking the Messiah, they were trying to kill Him.

Jesus contrasted their claim to what Abraham did. The Bible says Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). His faith brought about obedience; even when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac, he obeyed (Gen 22). On the other hand, these people did not obey. They mocked Jesus and argued with Him, therefore, Abraham was not their father.

Children tend to follow their fathers: Christ told them He had shown them what He had seen His Father doing and they, in turn, spoke what they heard from their father (v38). The implication was Abraham was not their father. But, they insisted Abraham was their father.

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.” They said to Him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father – even God.” [v39b-41].

Did Christ’s words lead them to repentance? No. Rather than understand the truth from the Messiah, their pride was committed to justifying themselves. They were indignant and argued they were not bastards or children of fornication. They upped the ante, claiming not only to be children of Abraham, but now to be children of God the Father (v41).

In the following verses, Jesus explained to them how God was not their father because their father was Satan himself (v42-47). In other words, they may claim to be Abraham’s children and claim to follow God, but, in fact, they are not children of the promise and they serve their father, the devil. The Apostle Paul said we are slaves to whom we obey (Rom 6:16). Jesus pointed out, they did not obey Abraham and they did not obey God. Therefore, their father is Satan because this is whom they obey.

Professions of faith do not represent true faith unless it produces the works of faith (Jam 2:18). If they truly were sons of Abraham, they would do what Abraham did; if they were children of the Father, they would honor the Son of God. By their actions and their arguments, they did not serve God.

Jesus made it clear: there are two camps. Those who belong to God and those who belong to Satan. There is no in-between. You will serve God or Satan. Just as these believers scorned the words of the Son of God, so do many who profess faith in Christ. This means, many who profess Christ are not saved because they are still slaves to sin.

behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. [Jer 6:10b].

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [1Co 2:14].

The reason these believers could not hear the truth was because they were slaves to sin. Those who serve sin, serve their father, the devil.

but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. [10:26-27].

YOU WILL NOT STAND AT ALL

Here are the points Jesus made against their claim to be children of the Father (v42-47):

  1. If God were your Father, you would love Me for He sent me and I am here, not as a man who glorifies himself, but as one sent by God (v42).
  2. You cannot understand what I am telling you because you are children of the devil and your will is to do what he desires (v43-44).
  3. Satan was a murderer from the beginning and does not speak the truth because there is no truth in him at all. When he lies, he fulfills his character, because he is the father of lies (v44).
  4. I tell you the truth, but you do not believe. Whoever is of God hears His words (v45-46).
  5. The reason they could not hear the truth was because they were not of God. There was no one who could bring evidence to convict Christ of sin, but they still refused to believe (v46-47).

Chapters six through eight, in the Gospel of John, can be characterized as a never-ending argument between Jesus and the professing believers. These people were arguing with Jesus, mocking Him and attacking His character. We call this ad hominem attacks, but when assailed against God, this is blasphemy.

The people stood firm in their faith. They believed they were free, though they were enslaved to sin and were nationally subservient to Rome. They believed they followed the Law and Moses, they followed mans’ rules and they were seeking to kill the Prophet whom Moses declared. They believed they were children of Abraham, yet they were seeking to kill the Son of Promise whom Abraham looked forward to. This was a false faith. Believing you are saved, does not make it so.

Their faith was built on lies. This is why Jesus warned them, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [v31-32]. But they did not want to be free because they were slaves to sin and their father was the devil (v44).

Isaiah wrote:

  • If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all. [Isa 7:9b].
  • If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all. [Isa 7:9b NIV].
  • If you will not believe, you surely shall not last. [Isa 7:9b NASB].
  • If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. [Isa 7:9b KJV].

The JFB commentary says, regarding Isaiah 7:9, “There is a. . .play on the words, in the Hebrew: ‘if ye will not confide, ye shall not abide.'”

Throughout the Old Testament, we read of the nations of Israel and Judah fornicating their religion with the practices of the nations around them. In this passage of Isaiah, God rebuked Ahaz, king of Judah, for trusting man (the king of Assyria) rather than God. He warned Ahaz to stand firm in the faith and promised the nations which threatened Judah would be destroyed. The sign of the promise was this familiar prophecy through Isaiah:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. . . For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. [Isa 7:14,16].

The two kings or two nations were Israel and Syria. Indeed, by the time the Son of God walked the earth, the nation of Israel, as Isaiah prophesied, was dispersed across the European and Western Asian countryside. The few Israelites which remained intermarried with the people around them and did not follow the Law of Moses. These were the Samaritans, a nation of half breeds, whom the Jews despised. As for Syria, they were dispersed and did not return and become recognized as a nation until 1945.

But the significance of the verse, “If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all,” is when Judah went into captivity in Babylon many years later, these people realized and repented of their adulterous relationship with other religions. They understood it was because of their tolerance and syncretism with other religious views, which caused them to “not last” or “not be established.” So, they gave up idolatry completely. Thus the rise of sects which would hold tightly to the Law.

Of these sects, the Pharisees became preeminent. They became the leaders of the people, along with the Sadducees, the priests. The Pharisees believed in upholding the written and the oral traditions of the faith. But it was these oral traditions which were changing the Law or interpreting the Law from terms which God ordained to terms which became traditions or laws of men.

In the Pharisees’ efforts to keep the Jewish religion from philandering with the religions of the nations around them, they contaminated the faith with a “religious humanism.” The nation, before the captivity, allowed the worldly religious idolatry to overtake the Law of God. After returning back to their homeland, intent upon preserving the Law, the Pharisees allowed their religion to be overcome by tradition. They had good intentions but they had bad means; they sought to keep God’s favor by their own efforts and the Law of God became twisted into a law built on lies.

Therefore, just as God warned the nation before the captivity, if they did not stand firm in the faith, they would become undone, Jesus reiterated this warning and told this crowd He was going away and they would die in their sin (v21). They thought they were free, they thought with their own efforts they could please God and they stood firm upon this faith, but this faith was a lie. Amidst the scorn, the arguing and the mocking of the leaders and the professing believers, Jesus offered them a faith to stand firm upon.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [v31-32].

This is why we must always be in the Word, desiring the Scriptures like food and water. If we do not, if we do not stand firm upon the Word of God, stand in our faith of Christ alone, we cannot stand at all. Those who do not stand, are not saved and will NOT be in heaven with Christ.

The Pharisees began with good intent. But little-by-little, they allowed mans’ rules to overcome God’s rules. But God is holy, holy, holy. And to turn His Laws on their face is an evil which will meet with His full wrath. The modern American gospel appears to be the opposite of the Pharisees’ religion. But it, too, is a salvation of what you do: say the sinner’s prayer, make a decision for Christ, accept Jesus as your Savior, come forward in a meeting and such as these. It appears to be salvation by grace but it is a salvation of doing these things which demonstrate a commitment and after that, nothing is required, because God loves us just the way we are. The message is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” They change the Gospel into the good news of God’s love and kindness, while neglecting His holiness, His righteousness and the coming Judgment. They may have good intention, but it is not God’s intention and they will meet with His full wrath.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly good news. The news is Christ died for our sins while we were unable to help ourselves (Rom 5:6). If we receive Christ, this is the work of God and we are saved; we do not receive Christ of our own will or our own power (1:12-13).

As for works: Those who are truly saved will abide in Christ, be in the Word, and He will produce His works in our lives (15:1-6). Even this is of God. He does not need our cooperation; He regenerates us so we will receive, we will abide in Christ. Salvation is fully of God alone, by His grace, through faith which He has given us, not of our own efforts, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9).

. . .This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. [6:29].

Jesus is sufficient. If we think we need to make a decision or in any way “do our part” to receive salvation, we are robbing God of His glory and we are adding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not add to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. [Deu 12:32].

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. [Rev 22:18-19].

The professing believers of Christ’s day had made God in their own image. They added to the Scripture so they could have the confidence they had done their part to be saved. The modern American gospel has made God into an acceptable image, so the professing believer can feel confident they have done their part to be saved or even their part to “turn their life around.” If your goal is to make the Gospel look acceptable to the world, beware Christ’s warning: If you care more for the glory of man than the glory of God, how can you be saved? (5:44).

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